Lesson Plans

Driving lesson plans

take a look some of these topics that you will be covering, we follow the DVSA syllabus.

First Lesson – The Cockpit Drill

The first thing to remember when starting this drill is DSSM. These letters stand for the four core concepts within this drill.

D Is For Doors

Before you start any journey make sure that they door has been closed properly. It is also important to make sure your door is clear before attempting to open the door. On days with high levels of wind, your door can easily be forced open by the wind. For this reason it is important to be extremely careful with your doors.

S Is For Seat Positioned For Your Pedals

Situate your seat so you can reach the foot pedal easily, test that you can depress the clutch pedal fully when you extend your left foot. Always wear footwear suitable for driving to ensure correct control of your car. When adjusting your seat you should be able to slide the seat both forward and backwards. Make sure that your seat has locked into place, sometimes you will still be able to raise your seat if it is necessary.

Adjusting your seat more; continue altering your seat until you are able to reach the steering wheel. Then adjust to rake or angle of the seat for your own personal comfort.Now adjust the head restraint. Make the most rigid part come to above your eye level of your ears. Once you have it high enough, make is as snug to your head as possible. (It is important to note that certain restraints do not adjust.)

S Is For Using Your Seatbelt

Wearing your seatbelt is not only the law, it will also give you some protection if you crash. Check your strap for any twists and ensure that any passengers you drive are wearing their seat belts properly. Remember, as a driver you are legally responsible for anyone under 14 years of age in your car.

M Is For Mirrors

Once you have found the best seat position, it is time to adjust your mirrors. Maneuver the interior mirror and door mirrors until you have a clear view of both sides and rear.

When adjusting your interior mirror, use the outer rim, this will ensure you do not get fingerprints onto the mirror. Adjust the mirror until you have a clear view of the vehicle rear slightly slanted towards yourself.

Continue adjusting with both side hand mirrors. Ensure that you can see clearly on the rear and sides, you should be able to view at least parts of your vehicles sides in either mirror.

Second Lesson –  Moving Off and Stopping

Moving Off

You must always move off safely, never creating any hazard for other people on the road, and must make sure that other drivers do not need to change direction or their speed, because of the action you have taken. We drive on the left side of the road, and this means that if you move off on that side, you will never come in the way of traffic coming towards you. When you go through a test for driving, you will be asked to pull up at a convenient place on your left a number of times, and then be again asked to move off again when the road is clear, while remaining fully in control of the vehicle and safe when you move off.

Follow the right routines of Prepare-Observation-Move so that you are always safe when you are asked to move off, as explained here:

Prepare

  1. The clutch pedal must be pressed down fully
  2. Move into first gear
  3. Press the accelerator slightly so that you set the gas
  4. Raise the clutch pedal, till a point just  before it bites, and see that your feet are still

Observation

  1. Check both the interior and right hand door mirrors
  2. A glance over your right shoulder should cover blind spots, as shown in the diagram

Move

  1. If other people will benefit from it, you can consider a signal
  2. Release the handbrake
  3. Raise clutch pedal slowly while you keep on the gas
  4. Steer the car to a normal position of driving
  5. Cancel the signal, if used

 Moving off at an angle and starting off on hills.

Moving off Uphill: Prepare

  1. If the incline is steep, your clutch pedal must be nearer the biting point or just above (your instructor will guide you), so that your vehicle does not roll back
  2. Handbrake must be applied to its fullest extent, especially when the hill is steep
  3. The feet on the clutch must be still and the clutch must be at the biting point

Observation

  1. Mirrors must be checked
  2. Handbrake can be released while the footbrake is on

Move

  1. Consider the need to signal, if others can benefit from it
  2. Step on the gas, as you are releasing the handbrake
  3. The car should remain in first gear for a longer time, before moving up to second, as going up the hill requires more power.

Moving off downhill: Prepare

  1. If the hill is steep, you can move off while the car is put into second gear
  2. Press the footbrake down, while you release the handbrake

Observation

  1. Check mirrors
  2. Cover blind spots by looking over the shoulder

Move

  1. Footbrake should be released, clutch pedal raised and gas given, if there is a need to go faster

Moving off from behind a car parked in front of you: Prepare

  1. Do not raise the clutch pedal to a great extent, when you look for the biting point

Observation

  1. Mirrors must be checked
  2. Blind spots covered by glancing over the shoulder
  3. Make sure there is no oncoming traffic
  4. There may be hazards in front of the car that is parked that you need to look out for

Move

  1. It will be best if you do use a signal to warn other drivers
  2. Moving out should be done slowly with clutch just above or at biting point, so that the speed can be controlled
  3. Any obstruction should be steered around so that you are clear of it maintaining a clearance equivalent to the width of a car door.

Stopping

Any place that you stop at must be convenient, legal and safe. When you are being tested for driving, a number of times, you will be required to park on the left after pulling over. When you need to change direction and speed, you must follow the Mirrors-Signal-Manoeuvre or M-S-M routine. Your place of parking must never be a hazard for other road users, and this means that you need to avoid being very close to junctions, near a bend or on it, or at the brow of a hill.

Following Traffic

You need to be constantly aware of traffic that is behind you.

Mirrors

Before you start a manoeuvre, you must assess the speed of traffic that is following and the distance it is at, through a check on mirrors.

Signal

When you have found a place that is suitable for you to stop at, use your left signal so that is can benefit others. Using the signal is always useful. See that you cancel the signal after you have parked.

Position

It will help traffic following you to pass, if you steer close to the curb when parking.

Speed

Apply brakes gently when you are almost at a standstill, while you steer close to the curb, six inches away, and all the time applying the clutch.

Look

Brake to a dead stop, after you have kept driveways clear, and use the clutch and brake pedal. You can rest your feet only after you have set the handbrake and the gear to neutral. Cancel the signal, if you have used it.

Never park opposite other parked cars and any obstructions which will cause you being parked there to narrow the road.

Third Lesson – Approaching Junctions Properly

Approaching Junctions To Turn Left

You will mainly need to turn left on approaching a junction when you are leaving a main road to turn into a road to your left. Follow the M-S-M routine.

Priority

When you turn left, you will have priority over the traffic that is turning right off the main road since they will be cutting across your path.

Mirrors

To get the best view of the position and speed of approaching traffic check the interior first. Next, in order to check for any traffic, mainly motorbikes and cyclists, that may be about to pass you on the left as you slow down to turn, check the nearside/ left mirror.

Signal

Although it is important to signal in good time, avoid signaling too early as this may give the impression to other road users that you are pulling up on the left.

Position

Unless there are obstructions such as parked cars, or you are turning into a narrow road or entrance there is no need to change from the normal driving position. If you are making a sharp turn you will need to move closer to the center of the road.

Speed

Make sure that you decrease your speed enough to be able to take the turn safely. Most turns would be taken at around 15 mph to 20 mph and you should be in second gear at this speed. In order to maintain control, avoid coasting by bringing the clutch pedal up.

Look

Assess how clear the junction is by checking into the new road. Be aware of any pedestrians crossing the road, or parked cars. Look out for any cyclists who may be trying to pass you on the left. Any pedestrians who have stepped into the road have priority, so be prepared to stop and allow them to cross if this is the case.

Timing of Signal

If the side road you are turning into is the second one, do not signal until you have passed the first one.

Taking A Sweeping Turn

In this instance, with your view into the new road much clearer, you will find it easier to maintain control of the vehicle, needing less steering for the turn. In this case you may not need to decrease your speed as much as you would for a standard turn. If you have not needed to slow down as much, you may be able to take the turn in third gear instead of in second.

Approaching Junctions To Turn Right

Priority

When you are turning right, oncoming traffic will have priority over you and you must make sure that you do not cut across them if doing so would cause them to have to change their direction or speed. A good way of judging it is this: If you would be able to walk across, then you can drive across.

Stopping Position

Position your vehicle just before the point at which you will turn. This is the point at which you need to stop for oncoming traffic or if the road you are turning into is blocked; and this will make it easier for you to turn in the correct position. By positioning to the center of the road you will often leave sufficient room for other vehicles to be able to pass on your left as well as confirm your intentions of turning. Do not cut the corner.

Flashing Lights

There will be times with the other driver will beckon you on by waving or flashing their headlights. If this happens, make sure that you still check that it is safe to turn, and that it is you they are beckoning on, not someone else. This is particularly important to check where vehicles are emerging onto a main road as the beckoning or flashing lights may be intended for them.

Mirrors

You will get the best view of the approaching traffic and their speed through the interior first. Then check the offside/ right mirror to check if any vehicles are in the process of overtaking.

Signal

Make sure you signal in good time so that other road users are warned well in advance of your intentions. You will be affecting others more when you are turning right than when you are turning left because of the need to change position before turning and the possibility you may need to stop.

Position

Where possible, move over to the center of the road. Doing this will leave enough room for following traffic to pass you on the left as well as confirm your intentions to turn right.

Speed

Be sure to decrease your speed enough to take the turn safely or to stop smoothly in the event it is not clear to continue because of oncoming traffic or a blockage in the road you are entering.

Look

Keep a look out for oncoming traffic, which has the priority. You will also need to check into the road you are entering in order to make sure it is clear since there may be pedestrians crossing, or the road may be blocked by parked cars and emerging traffic.

Equal Priority

Try to establish eye contact with the other driver whenever this is possible so that you are better able to judge their intentions. You have the option to hold back to allow the oncoming car to turn before you, or:

  • Turn nearside to nearside. In this case, you would turn before the oncoming traffic.
  • Turn offside to offside. In this case you would pass the oncoming vehicle before turning.

Make sure that if you are turning nearside to nearside, you are aware of any other oncoming traffic, and that you do not cut the corner.

One Way

Be aware Of One Way signs.

Filter Lanes

There are often filter lanes that can be used when turning right off main roads, when the road is wide enough. These allow vehicles to pass on the left, which helps to maintain the flow of traffic. Try to enter the filter lane as soon as you have cleared the chevron markings, but do not drive over the markings unnecessarily.

Fourth Lesson – Emerging Correctly

Emerging usually involves leaving a minor road to join a main road, turning left, turning right, or needing to go straight ahead, crossing a main road at a crossroads. If the junction is not controlled by lights, there will be either a “Stop” sign or a “Give Way” marking.

Warning Signs

It is important to look out for any advance warning signs. If there is a Give Way sign, it means you have to give way to the traffic on the main road. Having said this, if, as you approach, you are able to see clearly that it is safe to emerge, you may do so without having to stop. However, if in any doubt at all, do not emerge! Where a Stop sign is present you have to stop at the line, even if you can see it is safe to pull out.

Emerging at T-Junctions

Mirrors

  1. If you are turning left, use the interior/left; if you are turning right, use the interior/right.
  2. Signal left or right according to which way you will be turning.

Position

If you are turning to the left, keep to the left, following the curb around to the left. If you are turning right, position yourself in the center of the road.

Speed

Make sure that your approach is slow enough to allow you to stop smoothly in the event it is not clear to go ahead. Approach in second gear if the giveaway is open enough for you to be able to see clearly early on the approach that it is going to be safe to emerge. It is necessary to approach most T-junctions very slowly in order to give yourself enough time to check properly when it is clear and safe to emerge; this means selecting first gear. Where the junction has a Stop sign, you must stop regardless of whether or not it is safe to continue without stopping.

Look

Be aware there may be pedestrians trying to cross; make sure that you look out for them. Check the main road to your right, then to your left, and then again to your right to make sure that it is completely clear. It is also important to look out for any parked cars that may start to move off as you emerge. Motorcyclists and cyclists can be very difficult to spot, so it is very important to keep re-assessing both ways if the roads are busy.

Joining A New Road Safely

Observations

Emerging safely means doing so where any traffic, including cyclists motorcyclists are not forced to change direction or speed because of your actions. Be aware of any pedestrians that may be crossing the road.

Flashing Headlights

If you see flashing headlights, this may be an indication that the driver is allowing you to pull out; however, the true meaning of headlights flashing is as a “warning of presence”. For this reason, before you pull out, make sure that the flashing of lights was not intended for someone else. If you are certain they are intended to indicate that the driver is allowing you to pull out, make sure that the road is clear in all directions before you merge.

Once You Have Joined A New Road

Be sure to check your mirrors, and build up your speed at a rate that is suitable for the conditions and the type of road.

Obstructions On A Main Road

Emerging onto a road that has obstructions such as parked cars will mean you will need to creep forward carefully in order to improve your view. Keeping your clutch just at or close to biting point in order to control your speed, lean forward in your seat to get the best view. Be extra aware of any pedestrians that may be crossing the road from behind the parked cars.

Unmarked

If there are double broken lines all the way across the road you are leaving, or you are emerging onto a road that has no Give Way markings, do not assume that you are exiting a one-way; instead, position yourself for a two-way road.

Emerging Out Of A One-Way Street

Try to make the move into the correct lane in advance for the exit you wish to take. For turning left, keep to the left; for turning right, move over to the right.

Emerging At Junctions Where There Are Parked Cars

Position

Make sure that you are positioned so that you allow enough room for traffic to turn into the road you are exiting. Try to avoid getting unnecessarily close to obstructions such as parked cars. You may need reduce your speed further on approach.

Emerging Out Of Narrow Roads – Entrances

Position

Your back wheels may run over the curb if you keep to the left; and it is also possible that you may swing out too much into the new road.

In order to avoid this, make sure you move further to the center of the road you are leaving and steer left just before the Stop / Give Way lines. This will help you in not swinging too wide.

Emerging At Crossroads

Working Out Priority

As usual, the traffic on the main road will have priority. The easiest way to work out priority over the traffic opposite is to determine who will be crossing the other’s path. When you are on a main road, you have priority for the direction you are taking unless you are cutting across the path of other vehicles; for example, when you are turning right, you are cutting across the path of oncoming traffic and therefore must give way to that traffic.

Signal

If you are not using your signal you are confirming that you are intending to go straight ahead.

Maneuver

If you are going ahead, face your car to the left of the road you are entering. Your position should stay the same if the crossroads are not staggered.

Speed

Make sure that you decrease your speed enough to be able to check all of the roads. If you are in any doubt at all, do not pull out.

Look

Look to your right, then to your left, then back to your right and then straight ahead.

As usual, the traffic on the main road has priority. Check ahead for any emerging traffic as well as checking if there are any pedestrians or cyclists, making sure that it is clear to enter before moving.

Obstructions Such As Parked Cars

Parked cars may be blocking your view of the traffic that is approaching on the main road. Emerging traffic opposite may not have a clear view, so it is important to remember that the other driver may pull out ahead of you, even though you are the one who has priority. It is best to try to gain eye contact with the driver on the opposite side of the crossroads whenever possible, in order to try to work out their intentions.

They may not have seen you.

Although they may wave you on, make sure that you still check that the main road is clear and that it is safe to emerge before moving forward.

Both Turning Right, Equal Priority

Equal Priority!

In the situation where you and the driver opposite you are both intending to turn right, neither of you can assume priority as you are both taking the same action. In this case you need to work out the safest way of emerging. If you are both going to emerge onto the main road simultaneously, you have two options: emerge offside to offside or nearside to nearside.

Since you are both taking the same action it means you both have equal priority, and you will therefore need to decide whether it is safest to pass offside to offside or nearside to nearside.

Nearside To Nearside

This is when you cross with the left side of your car passing the left side of the car opposite.

Check to see which way the wheels on the other vehicle are facing. If they are turned to the right, this indicates the driver’s intention to emerge nearside to nearside. Make sure that the other driver does not block your view of traffic on the main road. This is particularly important since bikes can be easily hidden from view.

Offside To Offside

This means you are crossing with the right side of your car passing the right side of the other car.

Where the crossroads are staggered this is generally the better option. Looking at the car opposite you, if you can see that their wheels are straight, it is likely that the driver intends to emerge offside to offside.

Unmarked Crossroads

If there are no markings or road signs, do not assume priority over the other road. Approach the crossroads with caution and ready to give way if necessary since another driver may be expecting you to give way, or they may misjudge your speed, or they may not see you at all!

Box Junctions

A box junction is marked by yellow crisscross lines. The purpose of these is to keep the junction clear, preventing traffic from stopping in the path of crossing traffic and blocking the junction. Unless your exit road is clear you must not enter a box junction. If you are only prevented from turning right due to oncoming traffic, you may enter the box.

Fifth lesson – Coming To Traffic

Reaching Upcoming Traffic

Priority

A well-known rule is this common practice among drivers. When the obstruction is on the side your vehicle is, any oncoming drivers have the right away. You may come across parked vehicles, or possibly construction.  Coming to a complete halt is necessary if you’re not to disturb the speed of vehicles coming in the same direction of the obstruction.

Be aware that you may need to give up priority if another driver isn’t letting you though as this common rule suggest that he does. (When the obstruction is on the side with their vehicle). It is responsible to make the decision of your course of action firmly known to you before proceeding forward. This could prevent it being necessary for you to speed forward, or come to an abrupt stop.

Clearance

Try to keep the distance of a car door in between your vehicle and parked cars when moving through stationary vehicles -It is appropriate to try this when there aren’t other vehicles coming, or the road is wide enough to accommodate the parked vehicle along with the upcoming traffic.

Motorist, cyclists, and horse riders are entitled to plenty of room while they’re passing. The cyclist needs enough room, so that if they’re to fall off, your vehicle will avoid hitting them. – Pay Special Attention When:

  1. There Are Poor Weather Conditions
  2. The cyclist looks to be a minor
  3. The bicycle is being road uphill by the cyclist.

In a Situation With An Obstruction Blocking, Or Obstructing A Narrow Row

Get ready to “hold on”

If your vehicle needs to be at a stop, try to keep a moderate distance from the obstruction. This way you’ll be able to observe the road ahead. It is sometimes called a “hang back” or “hold on” position. Make sure it doesn’t look like you’re parking up (if you aren’t close to the left). Move to a safe location as soon as you clear.

M-S-M routine. Sometimes a blind stop check needs to take place, this should be accompanied with the appropriate signal – This may only be necessary if they’re other vehicles around to benefit.

When coming On to approach follow this M-S-M routine

Mirrors

Look into your mirrors well before changing the speed or direction of your vehicle. In this situation, you may have to accomplish both tasks – You will need to make your way over to the right in order to pass the car which is parked up. Sense the obstruction is on your side, you may need to come to a complete stop to accomplish this.

Signal

You should put on a right hand signal if you think other vehicles on the road could possibly benefit. The position of your vehicle, along with its current speed, will also confirm your intentions to other drivers on the road.

Maneuver

Position – Move the vehicle as close to the center as you possibly can.

Speed – Move your vehicle slowly enough, so that you have the option to come to a complete stop if needed. (There may not be enough room for you and oncoming traffic)

What To Do When Obstruction Is On A Wider Road

It is easy to cross the line between making progress, and making decisions too quickly. While driving through main routes, you won’t want to be stopped if it isn’t needed. The vehicle should be moving so slowly that you have the option to stop if needed and make sure that you notice not just care doors opening around you but also be aware of pedestrians, big or small, emerging from behind parked cars. You should also pay attention to vehicles emerging from side roads.

M-S-M Routine

If it isn’t possible to give the appropriate clearance due to an excess amount of oncoming traffic then – As you approach the park car, you need too slow the speed of your vehicle.

Equal Priority

Slow down so that you can easily assess the speed and position of the vehicle, it may be necessary to not make a move in order to not disrupt traffic. Remember that you’re in control in this situation. Make sure your vehicle is in a position so that you can give way in uphill situations. This is especially important when larger vehicles are involved.

Flashing Lights

It is common for drivers to present the gesture of flashing headlights to let the other drivers know that it is okay to move forward. Make the judgment on the speed and position of the vehicle, then decide whether to go through. What flashing lights really mean: A warning of presence. Make sure you are aware of the driver’s intention with the gesture. It is possible that the driver was trying to signal to someone else, or accidentally flashed his lights. To make sure potential accidents don’t happen to you, make sure you aren’t using flashing lights to move people forward.

Bends

Do not commit too early when coming to obstructions on bends, as there may be upcoming traffic.

Traffic Calming Measures

To keep the speed of traffic down in school areas, or other community areas where the speed of traffic may be too fast. They may also be found in locations that only allow for one vehicle to move i.e. through a one way tunnel, or over a narrow, old bridge.

Sixth Lesson – Emergency Stop

How to Stop in an Emergency Situation?

When driving in the real world, things will may not always go exactly as planned. For instance, there may be times when a child suddenly appears in front of your vehicle. In such a situation, you will need to react quickly and have full control of the car for stopping it safely. Since this is an emergency situation, mirror checks are not needed, as these will only delay your reaction. However, if you keep checking the mirror as usual, you will always have the idea of traffic behind you and therefore, you won’t need mirror checks in such an emergency situation (you need to check mirrors when your car is passing other parked cars).

Poor Weather Conditions/Poor Road Surface/Poor Road Conditions

It is important to keep in mind that you may need twice the stopping distance to bring your vehicle to a halt on a wet road as compared to a dry road. Similarly, on snow and ice, you will need a greater distance for stopping your vehicle as compared to a wet road. If you are a good driver, you may not need to make too many emergency stops.

You are not likely to be caught by surprise, such as these, too frequently, if you are regularly keep looking for various warning signs such as crossings for pedestrians and children. You should maintain a maximum speed of 30 miles. This would be the speed limit in most of the built-up areas but you need to judge every road on its merits. So, if the road condition is poor, it is important to keep the speed lower.

Driving Speed

Experts are of the opinion that there is 80% chance of a child dying if one gets hit with a car going at 40 mph. In simple terms, it means that 4 out of 5 kids would die. However, if the speed is 30 mph, then the probability of a child dying is just 20%, 4 out of 5 live, but there may be serious injuries. Similarly, there will be much less injuries if a child is hit at a speed of 20 mph. Therefore, it is important to keep the driving speed in mind as it can make a lot of difference.

If you are driving at 20 mph, your vehicle will move around 40 feet before coming to a halt. Similarly, if you are going at a speed of 30 mph, it will take approximately 75 feet before stopping completely. The stopping distance for a vehicle going at a speed of 40 mph is 120 feet.

Exercises

One of the best ways to prepare for stopping in an emergency situation is to practice stopping the vehicle under control. This will give you an idea of your reaction time and any other factors such as anxiety when you are in an actual emergency situation. You may also be asked to perform stopping in an emergency situation when you are taking a driving test.

It is estimated that one third of the tests include this exercise. The testing examiner is going to ask you to stop at a place and then, he’ll give you a warning signal to stop the vehicle. This will be a predefined signal. You’re supposed to treat this signal as an emergency situation and bring your car to a complete stop for got about looking in the mirrors on this occasion it is not an issue.

In such cases, you will need to react quickly. You need to take the foot of the accelerator pedal and put your foot on the brake pedal. After a slight pause, you need to put your left foot on the clutch pedal. It is important to keep in mind that you do not need to slam the brakes as it may cause the car to skid. Also, it is important to keep in mind that you did not need to slam on the clutch pedal too soon to ensure that engine also helps with stopping the vehicle in addition to the brakes.Ensure that both of your hands are on the steering wheel to take proper control of the wheel. Once your vehicle has come to a halt, you need to raise the handbrake and also put the gear in neutral to ensure that it is completely stationary.

If you are going to attempt it for the very first time, it is recommended to do it on a stationary car. This will help you with the movement of your hands and your legs before you try it in a moving car.When you have brought your car to an emergency stop, it is entirely possible that it may be positioned to the center of the road. You should not move the car without doing important checks. Therefore, it is important to check everything, including behind your left shoulder, to ensure that it is now safe to move your car.

Various Causes of Skidding

There are many different reasons of skidding of a car such as accelerating on a wet road or steering too harshly. The most common cause of skidding is braking too harshly as it locks up the wheels. There are systems such as anti-lock braking systems that prevent the wheels from locking up. The sensor in the systems releases the brake and applies it again immediately to prevent it from locking.You can correct a skid by releasing the brake pedal and reapplying it slightly to open the lock of the wheels. There may be times when the back end of the vehicle casting goes out of line due to lack of control on the car. It can be corrected by taking your foot off the.

Seventh Lesson – Pedestrian Crossings

In this section it will explain the protocol, considerations and rules about pedestrian crossings. It will look at two particular types of pedestrian crossing which are Zebra Crossings & Pelican Crossings (crossings which are signal controlled).

Pedestrian Crossings

Whatever type of crossing you are approaching it is important to watch out for any additional warning signs. Pedestrian crossings are often placed in built up areas and close to shops and schools.

Zebra Crossings

As well as the familiar black and white stripes across the road you will notice flashing yellow beacons at a Zebra Crossing. It is important to approach the crossing slowly enough to be able to stop should any pedestrians be waiting to cross the road. If there are any pedestrians close by or waiting at the side of the crossing you should be prepared to stop – they have the priority on the crossing.

Things to Do:

  1. Check your mirrors as you get closer to the crossing
  2. Check for pedestrians close to the crossing or approaching the crossing
  3. Drive slowly until you are sure that both sides of the crossing are clear
  4. Give yourself more stopping time if the weather is poor
  5. Be particularly vigilant at night, it may be difficult to spot pedestrians even if they are using the crossing

Things Not To Do:

  1. Do not stop at a crossing and wave the pedestrians across – other vehicles may not stop
  2. You must not rev your engine or edge forward to harass pedestrians
  3. You must not overtake within the zig zag areas close to the crossing
  4. You must not park on any zig zag lines
  5. You must not block crossings while waiting in a queue of traffic

Pelican Crossings – Signal Controlled

The majority of signal controlled crossings are Pelican Crossings. These have a button for the pedestrian to press which will change the light cycle.

Puffin Crossings

  • This type of crossing is fitted with electronic sensors which detect when pedestrians are crossing and reduce the flow of traffic.

Toucan Crossings

  • These crossings are shared by cyclists and pedestrians. There may be stop line in advance where cyclists can move ahead of the traffic.

Equestrian Crossings

  • These are designed to enable horse riders to cross the road safely. Some are signal controlled and are bound by the same rules as cycles and traffic lights.

Eighth Lesson – Hazard Awareness

Awareness and Planning

M-S-M Routine

Driving responsibly   means being cautious about everything happening around you so that you can safely respond to the needs of other road users. Checking through the mirror should be part of the driving because by doing so you will be able to see everything happening besides and behind you.  You will notice hazards (a happening that may necessitate change of direction, deceleration or acceleration your car) thus, you should adhere to Mirrors-Signal – manoeuvre routine.

The ”what if”- questions should constantly be asked. Some of the questions are:

  • What if a pedestrian jumps on to the road?
  • Supposing another car emerges from any junction

Always ensure that you are well prepared for the mistakes made by drivers and pedestrians

Built up areas have more hazards. Thus, you should not focus your attention on one particular hazard since there many other hazards you need to take note of.  If there are vehicles ahead of you, keeping some safe distance will give you enough time to react to a situation where there is no time for the driver who is a head to give a warning or a notice of their intentions to turn, park or stop.  A safe distance enables you to avoid blocking a junction or a crossing as soon as traffic comes to a stop.

Keeping a safe following distance  

In a case where the vehicle ahead passes a stationary object, you must always ensure that the distance between you and them is two seconds.  The two second rule must always be kept.  If you have two seconds before passing the object, you will be safe. If the weather has interfered with visibility, the distance must be increased to give you more time to make decisions.

Temporary Traffic Lights

During road repairs, the road you will be expected to use will always be narrow. There could be temporary lights, stop or go signs.   Repairs are temporary and there could be no solid lines. In such a case, you need to check for a red sign that indicates where you should stop.

ROAD WARNINGS SIGNS, AND THE CONDITIONS OF THE ROAD SHOULD BE CONSIDERED

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights are meant to keep the traffic flowing.  Ensure that you stick to M-S-M routine and always anticipate in advance the color the lights will be showing as soon as you reach them.  Lane markings must be considered and you must always strive to choose the correct lane on time depending on the direction you intend to take. Ensure that you keep the speed down and never attempt to speed up just because you want to beat the lights. Before you stop on traffic, you must ensure that you don’t block junctions.

Filter Arrows

Always ensure that you check the green filter arrows because they will give you a priority especially if you are going towards the direction in which the arrow is facing. This must be done even in situation when the main lights are red. Make sure you always pick on the correct lane early enough depending on the direction you intend to take. It gives you an option of turning right (slow down if going ahead or make a left turning) It also gives you an opportunity to go ahead or turn left (if you are turning right you must stop at the line)

Ninth Lesson – Progress on Main Roads

Driving at The Right Speed

Circular Signs That Give Orders – The maximum speed limit that is allowed and is legal, is when you find a red circle around the speed limit. On the main roads, the speed limit of 30 MPH is safe when clear of any hazards, as well as when there are no bad weather conditions. The majority of roads are minor roads, and they are typically 30 MPH zones. They are unsafe to drive at the maximum speed limit.

You need to take into consideration the conditions of each road. When the road is quieter, you will more than likely encounter hazards. These hazards could include children playing, parked cars, or even pedestrians crossing. Be sure to take extra caution when passing shops, schools, etc. Speed bumps are made to make traffic slowdown in the areas where drivers may drive fast. There are traffic calming measures, and they are made to slow the traffic.When you see a speed limit with a background that is blue that means it is the minimum speed that is safe and allowed.Rectangular shape signs are meant to inform. However, it might not always be safe to drive the maximum speed that applies to each road you’re on.

Usually when you see a higher speed limit, you will notice it is on a road that is a main route, or it could be clear of schools, shops, and houses. With having some fewer hazards, it’s going to be more appropriate and safer to make some progress, just as long as each road is clear and you’re not driving when there is poor weather. Be sure to check ahead for any hazards when it comes to roads that offer the maximum speed – that way you will be able to reduce the speed you’re currently going to keep safe. Please, see below.

Following at a Safe Distance

When a vehicle ahead of you passes at a stationary object, always keep 2 second apart. Remember the phrase: “Only a fool would break the 2 second rule”

If you have the time to say that before you pass an object, you will be considered at a safe distance. The 2 second rule should be increased if there happens to be poor weather. When you keep a safe distance, it will not just ensure your safety stopping distance, it will also give you a clear focus on the road that is ahead of you.

Applying the National Speed Limit

Single Lane – 60 MPH: Maximum Speed

Dual Carriageway – 70 MPH: Maximum Speed

NOTE: In order to be classed as the dual carriageway, there would have to be a central barrier/reservation. If not, the 60 MPH speed limit would be applied.

Where there is two lanes, but no central barrier/reservation, that is normally to give priority to traffic driving uphill, then it will turn into a single lane. Be sure that if you’re overtaking, you will have the time to do so before the road turns back to just a single lane.

Watch for speed limits. Check your mirrors completely before you change direction or speed.

When entering in to a new speed zone, you will have the new speed limit sign on both sides of the road that you’re driving on, as well as the road you’re entering. If you see a speed limit sign on only one side of the road that means it’s a reminder of the current speed limit that you’re already driving.

Be sure to make sure that when the speed limit changes, you need to be sure you’re not going over that specific speed limit when you pass the speed limit sign. Be sure to not change your speed until you are already passed the speed limit sign.

Note: When you are finished travelling on a fast-paces road, you have to keep your eyes out for the speed. It’s actually easy to drive faster than you think you’re going. Remember getting six penalty points within your first 2 years of passing your driver’s test means you will need to retake each of the tests.

National Speed Limit Road

Just because you see a national speed limit road that is clear, it doesn’t always mean it’s appropriate or safe to drive at the highest, safest speed. There are many road fatalities that happen on the country roads. It is safe to only travel the highest and safest speed allowed when you have a clear view of the road. Roads can sometimes have sharp bends, hills, and could be narrow. Most roads are not even lit up, and they may not even have pavement. It’s typical that you could come across horse riders, cyclists, or even pedestrians. The national speed limit is usually within rural areas, and animals as well as farm vehicles are usually present. Always be sure to take extra caution when you’re watching your position and speed around bends of the road.

Changes of Direction

This is used where the changes in the road occur sharply for there to potentially be a hazard. It could also have a bend warning sign, and that could be where there should be strong detail.

Approaching a Bend

Be sure to check all mirrors before you slow down. If you see a bend in the road, be sure to lower your speed. You should always remember that the sharper the bend, you should lower your speed even more. If you keep on the gas to maintain your speed around a bend that will help control and maintain the position, and the wheels will be gripping the road.

The Left Hand Bend

Positioning to the center of a lane. However, you should not move too close to the center of a road, because it could make you very close to oncoming traffic that can take over the bend wide.

Ask yourself, when approaching a bend –

  • Can I see the total picture?
  • How sharp is this bend?
  • Is my positioning right for this current road?
  • Am I considered at a safe gear and speed?
  • What could I potentially meet up with?
  • Would I be able to stop if I had to?

Right Hand Bend

Be sure to position to your left when in a lane. This will improve the overall view, and it will create a clear view so you don’t end up taking the bend too fast.

Overtaking Considerations

Overtaking may put you in with a collision course with a vehicle that is coming towards you, and this could be a major cause of an accident. It makes perfect sense to always use caution when you decide to overtake. Before overtaking, you must consider the following:

  • The vehicle is going slow in front of me. Why?

Maybe the person ahead of me is going to park or turn off, or there could even be a hazard ahead.

  • Do you think you will gain much?

There is no point to overtake someone if you’re going to turn onto another road soon after, or even to do so to leave behind slow moving traffic.

  • Is this legal?

Be sure that the overtaking will not cause you to drive faster than the legal speed limit. Be sure that you never cross any solid white lines. Never Overtake With No Overtaking Sign

  • Is This Safe?

You will have to have a clear stretch of the road ahead of you with oncoming traffic, and you must be aware of specific hazards that don’t overtake when it comes to an approaching bend. Never overtake with hazards, such as pedestrian crossings, junctions, and traffic lights.

How to Get Yourself Caught Out

When you are following behind a slow vehicle, you can possibly see the road ahead of them, and if there is no oncoming traffic, you may decide to overtake. You might not have seen a warning sign for junctions towards the left of you.  That will create a dangerous situation for both of you.

What Might Happen?

There could be a vehicle emerging from the junction and turning right, and they may have the time to come out before the slow vehicle ahead of you. If you did overtake, that would make you both collide!

The Steps to Overtaking.

There will be certain times where you may find it necessary to overtake a slow moving vehicle when following traffic. However, you must be cautious and think about the situation before acting on it. Always follow M-S-M routine whenever on the road and in this situation – it’s explained below.

Preparing to Overtake: M-S-M Routine

Mirrors – Make sure to check them over with the position and speed with the traffic behind you. Don’t forget to check the inside mirrors, as well as the door mirror on the right.

Signalling– Don’t signal until you are ready to overtake.

Positioning – Make sure you are close enough to a vehicle that you’re about to overtake, so you can get a clear view of the road ahead of them.

Speed – Be sure to keep up the speed of the vehicle ahead of you so you will be able to pass them.

Look – Be able to look at the whole situation.

  1. Road Conditions
  2. Driver Ahead of You and Their Intentions
  3. Hazards and Signs
  4. Oncoming Traffic and Their Speed

Be aware of the difference of speed between the oncoming traffic and yourself.

When the situation changes, you can find that you may need to follow the routine above until you’re 100 % safe and happy that you can do it. If you overtake a cyclist, make sure to give him or her a lot of room. When you come up to a horse ride, be sure to slow down ahead of time so you don’t frighten the horse.

Overtake – M-S-M Routine

Mirrors – Assess each situation behind, interior, as well as right door mirror when you’re going to overtake. Be sure to also check for any blind spots.

Signalling – Apply the signal when you’re about to overtake so it will help the drivers behind you, as well as any drivers coming towards you and the one you’re overtaking.

Manoeuvre – You must make sure you’re pulling out on a smooth line when overtaking, and be as quick as you can so you can get back on your side of the road. Always check your mirrors to be sure you’re in the clear of any other vehicles, as well as the one behind you.There are minor differences when overtaking on dual carriageways and multi-lane roads.

Tenth Lesson – What To Do At Roundabouts

 

Why Do We Need Roundabouts?

 

When you have two extremely busy roads that meet up together, without a roundabout, the traffic can soon grind to a halt. A car can find it very difficult to maneuver into another lane. This can result in the blocking of traffic behind the vehicle. When roads are busy, it can be extremely difficult to merge into the lane of another road, and often you need to stop.

 

The benefits of a roundabout are clear.

 

Thanks to the introduction of roundabouts, it means that moving to another road is not only made easier, but also much safer. Where it was difficult to cross lanes, with a roundabout, it is easy to turn left or right. Turning right is easier as the vehicles on the left have to wait their turn.

 

Roundabout rules

 

Whenever you are approaching a roundabout, you should always use the MSM (Mirror Signal maneuver) routine, and get into the correct lane. Always give way to any traffic which is approaching on your right hand side. You should never cause the traffic coming from the right to swerve or reduce speed, they have right of way. Once on the roundabout, remain in the correct lane. Always use the MSM routine prior to turning off so you know where other road users are. It it worth doing some research so that you learn which is the correct lane to be in, as roundabouts can vary.

 

Discipline while using a lane

 

A normal roundabout:

 

When turning to the left, always use the left signal to inform other road users, and stay in the left lane.

 

When turning to the right, put on the right indicator, and get into the right lane. Stay on the roundabouts inside until you reach your turn off. Then use MSM to ensure other users know what you are about to do.

 

Keeping to the road in front

 

If you are planning on going straight ahead, then remain in the left lane, and keep to the outside lane of the roundabout. If the exit you want is the second one, then you do not need to signal to get onto the roundabout. Once you pass exit 1, then signal left to come off.

 

If the road continues, but is on the right of the roundabout, then use the right hand lane.

Once you have passed the first exit, utilize the MSM routine, and then move off the roundabout.

 

Lane markings are present for a reason

 

When you are driving on a dual carriageway, and the road continues the same on the other side of the roundabout, then you can use any lane, unless they are specifically marked as left or right. However, if you get to the roundabout in the left lane, then stay in it. The same rules apply to starting in the right lane, this should result in you exiting onto the right lane.

 

Following the road when it is ahead when you turn-off is to the left.

 

Get into the left lane upon approach, and signal your intentions. Stay on the outside of the roundabout and exit left. Since the turn off is the first left, it is important to ensure you continue to indicate left.

 

Turning off on a road on the right

 

When having to turn right, it is vital to keep to the right lane, and indicate to show your intentions. Always look in your mirrors, and signal before pulling onto the roundabout.

 

When To Give Way

 

Some people can become easily confused when on a roundabout. However, the basic rules are very simple to follow. When you are waiting to pull onto a roundabout, you are usually waiting for traffic for one main road to pass by. Keep an eye out for traffic that will block them off, as this can give you the break you need in order to pull out.

 

Always Keep an Eye Out For the Lane Markings

 

When the lane markings show you that either lane can be used when travelling ahead: If you start in the left lane, then you need to turn off onto the left one. If you begin in the right lane, then you should maneuver off the roundabout onto the right lane.

 

Discipline While In A Lane

 

Some lane approaches will clearly show a left hand arrow. This lane is to be used for turning left only. Generally speaking, this happens when the left turn is a motorway, or other major junction.

 

Going straight ahead when the left lane is clearly for left turns only.

 

In some cases, the right lane will have a straight arrow in it, or straight and right arrow. This means you have to keep on the inside of the roundabout. Always watch out at these junctions, it is not unknown for other drivers to ignore the markings, and be on your inside as you turn off.

 

Keeping ahead when on a dual carriageway Discipline when in a lane

 

Use either lane when travelling straight ahead onto a dual carriageway. Always keep to the outside of the roundabout, and exit on the left if that is where you started off. Consider These Key Points

 

  1. Always make sure that you are in the correct lane.
  2. Adjust speed accordingly if on a dual carriageway, as you will be travelling fast.
  3. Watch out for large vehicle that are unable to remain in the correct lane.

 

Multi Lanes

 

When you approach a roundabout with more than two lanes, pay particular attention to the lane markings.

 

Making Progress

Take the opportunity to make progress when the traffic on your right is going to be blocked. For example, a car is able to emerge because the traffic opposite it which is intending to go ahead at the roundabout is blocking the traffic to the right. In this case, when another car that is turning right blocks the traffic, the first will be able to take the opportunity to make progress.

When a roundabout is big enough to allow sufficient room you may be able to enter it without causing the other traffic to change direction or speed if you are turning left, and the rest of the traffic intends to turn right. This is because you will be in the outside lane of the roundabout while they are in the inside lane.If you have not seen which junction a vehicle has emerged from, you will not know which exit they are taking and will therefore need to give way to it.

Mini Roundabouts

The rules for a mini roundabout are the same as the rules for a standard roundabout. You will need to give way to any traffic that crosses your path from the right. Since the junctions are closer it is easy to give way to the traffic over which you have priority. Follow the M-S-M routine as you approach. It can be difficult to identify mini roundabouts, so it is important to look for the sign.

Taking A Right Turn

Priority

In this example, the yellow car is the one with priority since drivers need to give way to their right.

Key Points

Make sure that your signal is maintained when you are turning right. If it cancels, re-apply it, otherwise the rest of the traffic may not give way to you.Drive around the circle in the center. Those with large vehicles may not be able to drive around it and may therefore need to drive over it. Although it may not always be important to use your left signal when following the M-S-M routine on exiting in order to show your intentions to leave the roundabout, do apply it if you have time. Your steering will take priority when turning right.